DSEA Seminar at NNFA Provides Counsel on Handling Negative Consumer Publicity on Supplements

Public Relations Pros offer Practical Tools to Educate Consumers

“Handling Negative Media on Supplements: Practical Tools to Educate Your Customers” is a seminar being hosted by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) during the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas. The panel discussion, which is part of NNFA’s Prime Time Sessions, takes place on Friday, June 27th from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room N246.

Public relations professionals and an experienced grassroots organizer will present strategies for counteracting negative media about dietary supplements during the one-hour discussion, which is open to all NNFA exhibitors and attendees free of charge. Participating in the panel will be Bobbi Schlesinger, president of Freeman Public Relations; Ana Micka, president and CEO, Citizens for Health; and Suzanne Shelton, president, The Shelton Group Public Relations. The discussion will be moderated by Susan Haeger, director global industry affairs, New Hope Natural Media.

Bobbi Schlesinger has been with one of the nation’s oldest and largest independently-owned agencies for more than 25 years. In addition to consumer brands like Mattel, Fisher-Price, Benjamin Moore, Crayola and LensCrafters, Freeman Public Relations has represented dozens of health and family related clients, including childcare for American Express, Better Homes and Gardens magazine, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and The Foundation for Innovation in Medicine. For the last six years they handled Natural Products Expo East and West for New Hope Natural Media and now conduct the national public relations program of The Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA).

Ana Micka joined Citizens for Health in October 2002 as their president and CEO. Ana is a national leader in grassroots and electoral advocacy. She brings 12 years experience running political and issue campaigns to Citizens for Health. Her efforts have ranged from removing low-level radioactive waste threats in her home state of Minnesota during college to successfully electing several prominent Members of Congress. She is credited with developing innovative grassroots fundraising campaigns and has raised over $12 million for her campaigns and causes.

Suzanne Shelton, president of The Shelton Group Public Relations, has worked exclusively in the natural products industry since 1988. Her area of specialization is herbal products, dietary supplements and industry issues. Shelton has over 20 years experience in alternative product marketing and publicity. Shelton founded CANI (Consultants Association of the Natural Industry) in 1992 and served as president for three years. She sits on the board of directors of Citizens for Health, the health care choice advocacy group, serves as the AHPA PR committee chair and is involved in a number of other industry organizations.

In 2002, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) reached over 75 million Americans with good news about supplements in stories appearing on 130 television news programs and in more than 1,500 newspapers and magazines according to Haeger, who chairs the Alliance trade PR/communications committee.

“The DSEA’s national consumer education campaign is making Americans aware of the health benefits available to them through the quality products our industry provides,” said Haeger. “ It’s gratifying to see industry support of our efforts continue to grow, with new international donors such as KTT Corporation and Marine Bio from Japan, as well as Botanical Laboratories and Nutrition 21 in the U.S.”

Over 15,000 users each month access the DSEA’s Web site, www.supplementinfo.org , which provides consumers with accurate, up-to-date information maintained through IntraMedicine. The DSEA’s thirteen-member Scientific Advisory Board includes scientists, researchers and medical practitioners who represent the nation’s leading experts on nutritional supplements.

“One of our primary objectives in 2003 is to dispel the myth in the press that there is ‘no research’ on dietary supplements,” said Haeger. “We’ve put together a major program to counteract that perception, including a monthly newsletter to the media covering a broad spectrum of important research results in all areas of supplementation. We’ll to continue to develop interview opportunities for MDs and other experts who support supplements.”

For information about joining the DSEA, contact Deb Knowles at (941)349-9044 or e-mail her at [email protected].

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